Blast puts lock on KiXX, 15-3

Defense leads way again

Johnson has 3 two-pointers

Indoor Soccer

March 13, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

PHILADELPHIA -- After his second goal of the night, Blast defender Lance Johnson raised both his arms, held his head high and posed like a championship fighter who had just knocked his opponent out.

That pose proved appropriate considering that Johnson's goal opened up an 11-3 lead in front of 6,936 at the Spectrum and pretty much ended Philadelphia's chances of catching the Blast in the East Division.

The Blast went on to win, 15-3, opening a 3 1/2-game lead in the division with seven games left, guaranteeing at least a season-series split with the KiXX.

Johnson's three two-point goals for the night were enough to beat the KiXX by himself, as the seven-year defender set a career high for two-point goals with 16 for the season.

He gave the KiXX two power-play chances with tripping penalties, which as it turned out, hurt the KiXX because it spurred desire in Johnson to make up for his transgressions.

"I don't like going into the [penalty] box because it hurts your team," Johnson said. "When I go in the box, I let the guys down. So when I came out of the box, I wanted to make things happen -- get good balls in good places, make good runs and try to finish."

The win gave the Blast a 4-2 season-series lead over the KiXX with two games left between the teams.

"Chances are, it's not locked up, but we would have the tie-breaker against them so that makes it one more game that they have to pick up," Blast coach Kevin Healey said. "The goal differential is pretty good based on that kind of win.

"I couldn't be happier with the performance. That was a championship performance out there."

Coming off an 11-8 loss to Buffalo, dropping another game would have put a dent in the team's chances to finish with the best record in the conference. The Crunch trails the Blast by 1 1/2 games for the American Conference's top spot.

With Philadelphia and Cleveland in pursuit, the Blast put on its best road performance of the season, dominating the KiXX with its defense, which did not allow a goal in the run of play.

The KiXX put up its three points on three shootout goals by Goran Hunjak but could only muster 21 shots on goal, with none going in. The three points came in the first half, which the Blast finished with a 5-3 lead.

Johnson scored his first goal less than two minutes into the third quarter, sparking a 10-0 run that spanned the rest of the game.

Blast 1 4 6 4 -- 15

Philadelphia 1 2 0 0 -- 3

First period -- 1, Philadelphia, Hunjak 1 pt., 6: 16; 2, Blast, Thomas 1 pt., 14: 44.

Second period -- 3, Blast, Cabral (Rasmussen) 2 pt., 5: 19; 4, Blast, Walker (Dougherty) 2 pt., 7: 31; 5, Philadelphia, Hunjak 1 pt., 8: 34; 6, Philadelphia, Hunjak 1 pt., 13: 59.

Third period -- 7, Blast, Johnson (Kelly) 2 pt., 1: 33; 8, Blast, Dieter (Stitz) 2 pt., 2: 39; 9, Blast (Johnson) Cabral 2 pt., 8: 54.

Fourth period -- 10, Blast, Johnson 2 pt., 4: 45; 11, Blast, Kelly (Santoro) 2 pt., 8: 57.

Shots on goal-- Philadelphia 5-8-4-4 -21, Blast 3-5-9-5 -22. Power-play opportunities -- Philadelphia 0-for-3, Blast 0-for-0. Goalies -- Philadelphia, Pappas 3-1-6-2-12; Blast, Hileman 5-7-2-3 -17. A--6,936.

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